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The government has two programs that provide relief to persons with disabilities-the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. Each program has its own eligibility criteria. The government offers work incentives so that a person receiving SSDI or SSI can work and become self-sufficient. Social Security’s Ticket to Work is a support program that is offered to those receiving SSDI or SSI to help them on their road to self-sufficiency.

Trial Work Period

An SSDI beneficiary can work at least 9 months during a 60-month period without losing eligibility for SSDI payments and Medicare coverage. After the 9 months, he or she will receive an additional 3-month ‘grace period’ in which they will remain eligible for their benefits regardless of their earnings. For 3 years after the trial work period, if the individual is still medically disabled, he or she receives SSDI benefits for each month earnings are below $1,220 or $2,040 per month if the individual is blind. Medicare continues for at least 93 months after the trial work period if the individual is still medically disabled.

Impairment-Related Work Expenses

Expenses that a disabled individual must incur in order to work, such as the expense of special transportation, are deducted from the individual’s gross earnings when determining if he or she is eligible for SSDI or SSI. Alternatively, if you are receiving SSI based on blindness, any work expense you incur, even if not related to your disability, will be deducted from your gross earnings when determining your eligibility for SSI.

Student Earned Income Exclusion

If a student is disabled, regularly enrolled in school, and under 22 years old, up to $1,870 per month (maximum of $7,550 a year) of his or her earnings are not included when determining SSI eligibility.

Vocational Rehabilitation

If an SSDI recipient medically recovers from his or her impairment but is participating in a vocational rehabilitation program that will lead to self-support, SSDI eligibility will continue during the program.

Employment Networks

SSDI and SSI recipients can participate in the Ticket to Work program. Participants in the Ticket to Work programs get assistance from employment support providers known as Employment Networks (EN’s). Participants get a wide variety of services such as job search assistance, job placement, job coaching, career counseling or vocational rehabilitation support to help them secure and maintain jobs. The employment network can help track work incentive usage and available subsidies.

For more information about work incentives and how they can help you, contact DisABLEd Workers today, at 877-291-9806.